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Creative Writing Poetry Guide - New Paltz High School

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Creative Writing Poetry Guide - New Paltz High School Powered By Docstoc
					Poetry
There are a number of ways to discuss poetry, and there are many ways to approach
writing poetry. To aid you in your poetry-writing quest, do use this booklet as a guide.
Here is a brief table of contents:

TYPES OF STANZA:                              PAGE NUMBER:
     COUPLET                                       2-3
     TERCET                                        4-5
     QUATRAIN                                      6
     CINQUAIN                                      7
     SESTET
     VILLANELLE                                         8

TYPES OF POETRY:
     HAIKU                                             9
     LIMERICK                                          9
     CONCRETE                                          10
     DRAMATIC                                          11
     FREE VERSE                                        12
     ODE                                               13
     LYRIC POETRY
     NARRATIVE POETRY                                  13
     SONNET                                            14
     PARODY                                            15

IMAGERY IN POETRY:                                     16


One of the ways to divide poetry is to divide it along stanza lines. The following are the
most popular stanza forms:

Couplet: a couplet is a set of two lines in a poem, one right after the other, which expresses an idea and has a
set rhythm.
Tercet: a tercet is a group of three lines in a poem, usually with a set rhythm.
Quatrain: a quatrain is a group of four lines in a poem, usually with a set rhythm.
Cinquain: a group of five lines in a poem, usually with a set rhythm.
Sestet: a group of six lines in a poem, usually with a set rhythm.
Villanelle: a villanelle consists of five 3-line stanzas and a final 4-line stanza. There are only two rhyme sounds
in the entire work; lines one and three of stanza one are repeated as the third line of the other stanzas.


Several examples of the most popular stanza types follow:




                                                                                                                      1
Couplet: a couplet is a set of two lines in a poem, one right after the other,
which expresses an idea and has a set rhythm. For example:


Knowledge, by Philip Memmer

My philosopher friend is explaining again
that the bottle of well-chilled beer in my hand

might not be a bottle of beer,
that the trickle of bottle-sweat cooling in my palm

might not be wet, might not be cool,
that in fact it’s impossible ever to know

if I’m holding a bottle at all.
I try to follow his logic, flipping the steaks

that are almost certainly hissing
over the bed of coals – coals I’d swear

were black at first, then gray, then red –
coals we could spread out and walk on

and why not, I ask, since we’ll never be sure
if our feet burn, if our soles

blister and peel, if our faithlessness
is any better or worse a tool

than the firewalker’s can-do extreme.
Exactly, he smiles. Behind the fence

the moon rises, or seems to.
Have another. Whatever else is true,

the coals feel hotter than ever
as the darkness begins to do

what darkness does. Another what? I ask.



[from   Poems and Plays #11, spring/summer, 2004]



                                                                                 2
Before She Died, by Karen Chase

When I look at the sky now, I look at it for you.
As if with enough attention, I could take it in for you.

With all the leaves gone almost from
the trees, I did not walk briskly through the field.

Late today with my dog Wool, I lay down in the upper field,
he panting and aged, me looking at the blue. Leaning

on him, I wondered how finite these lustered days seem
to you, A stand of hemlock across the lake catches

my eye. It will take a long time to know how it is
for you. Like a dog's lifetime -- long -- multiplied by sevens.

[ from Kazimierz Square, 2000]

                                                                                      Coffee in the Afternoon, by Alberto Ríos

                                                                         It was afternoon tea, with tea foods spread out
                                                                             Like in the books, except that it was coffee.

                                                                          She made a tin pot of cowboy coffee, from memory,
                                                                        That's what we used to call it, she said, cowboy coffee.

                                                                        The grounds she pinched up in her hands, not a spoon,
                                                                             And the fire on the stove she made from a match.

                                                                     I sat with her and talked, but the talk was like the tea food,
                                                                       A little of this and something from the other plate as well,

                                                                      Always with a napkin and a thank-you. We sat and visited
                                                                                           And I watched her smoke cigarettes

                                                                               Until the afternoon light was funny in the room,
                                                                       And then we said our good-byes. The visit was liniment,

                                                                        The way the tea was coffee, a confusion plain and nice,
                                                                         A balm for the nerves of two people living in the world,

                                                            A balm in the tenor of its language, which spoke through our hands
                                                                        In the small lifting of our cups and our cakes to our lips.

                                                                                  It was simplicity, and held only what it needed.
                                                                               It was a gentle visit, and I did not see her again.

                                                                                               from Atlanta Review, Winter 2000




                                                                                                                                 3
Tercet: a tercet is a group of three lines in a poem, usually with a set rhythm.
For example:

The Death of Santa Claus                                                A New Poet, by Linda Pastan
by Charles Webb
                                                                                     Finding a new poet
He's had the chest pains for weeks,                                    is like finding a new wildflower
but doctors don't make house                                          out in the woods. You don't see
calls to the North Pole,
                                                                     its name in the flower books, and
he's let his Blue Cross lapse,                                                nobody you tell believes
blood tests make him faint,                                                 in its odd color or the way
hospital gowns always flap
                                                                      its leaves grow in splayed rows
open, waiting rooms upset                                   down the whole length of the page. In fact
his stomach, and it's only                                              the very page smells of spilled
indigestion anyway, he thinks,
                                                               red wine and the mustiness of the sea
until, feeding the reindeer,                          on a foggy day - the odor of truth - and of lying.
he feels as if a monster fist
has grabbed his heart and won't                                        And the words are so familiar,
                                                                             so strangely new, words
stop squeezing. He can't                                             you almost wrote yourself, if only
breathe, and the beautiful white
world he loves goes black,                                    in your dreams there had been a pencil
                                                                        or a pen or even a paintbrush,
and he drops on his jelly belly                                       if only there had been a flower.
in the snow and Mrs. Claus                                            [from Heroes In Disguise, 1991]
tears out of the toy factory
                                          Small Comfort, by Katha Pollitt
wailing, and the elves wring              Coffee and cigarettes in a clean cafe,
their little hands, and Rudolph's         forsythia lit like a damp match against
nose blinks like a sad ambulance          a thundery sky drunk on its own ozone,

                                          the laundry cool and crisp and folded away
light, and in a tract house
                                          again in the lavender closet-too late to find
in Houston, Texas, I'm 8,
                                          comfort enough in such small daily moments
telling my mom that stupid
                                          of beauty, renewal, calm, too late to imagine
kids at school say Santa's a big          people would rather be happy than suffering
fake, and she sits with me                and inflicting suffering. We're near the end,
on our purple-flowered couch,
                                          but O before the end, as the sparrows wing
and takes my hand, tears                  each night to their secret nests in the elm's green dome
in her throat, the terrible               O let the last bus bring
news rising in her eyes.
                                          love to lover, let the starveling
[from Reading The Water, 2001]            dog turn the corner and lope suddenly
                                          miraculously, down its own street, home.

                                          [from The New Yorker]




                                                                                                      4
I’ve Been Known, by Denise Duhamel

to spread it on thick to shoot off my mouth to get it off my chest
      to tell him where
      to get off
to stay put to face the music to cut a shine to go under to sell
      myself short to play
      myself down
to paint the town to fork over to shell out to shoot up to pull a
      fast one to go haywire
      to take a shine to
to be stuck on to glam it up to vamp it up to get her one better to
      eat a little higher
      on the hog
to win out to get away with to go to the spot to make a stake to
      make a stand to
      stand for something to stand up for
to snow under to slip up to go for it to take a stab at it to try out
      to go places to play
      up to get back at
to size up to stand off to slop over to be solid with to lose my
      shirt to get myself off
      to get myself off the hook

[from Margie/The American Journal of Poetry]




                                                                        5
Quatrain: a quatrain is a group of four lines in a poem, usually with a set
rhythm. For example:




The Summer I Was Sixteen, by Geraldine Connolly

The turquoise pool rose up to meet us,
its slide a silver afterthought down which
we plunged, screaming, into a mirage of bubbles.
We did not exist beyond the gaze of a boy.

Shaking water off our limbs, we lifted
up from ladder rungs across the fern-cool
lip of rim. Afternoon. Oiled and sated,
we sunbathed, rose and paraded the concrete,

danced to the low beat of "Duke of Earl."
Past cherry colas, hot-dogs, Dreamsicles,
we came to the counter where bees staggered
into root beer cups and drowned. We gobbled

cotton candy torches, sweet as furtive kisses,
shared on benches beneath summer shadows.
Cherry. Elm. Sycamore. We spread our chenille
blankets across grass, pressed radios to our ears,

mouthing the old words, then loosened
thin bikini straps and rubbed baby oil with iodine
across sunburned shoulders, tossing a glance
through the chain link at an improbable world.

[from Province of Fire, 1998]




                                                                              6
Cinquain: a group of five lines in a poem, usually with a set rhythm.
For example:


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

           --Robert Frost




                                                                        7
Villanelle: a villanelle consists of five 3-line stanzas and a final 4-line stanza.
There are only two rhyme sounds in the entire work; lines one and three of
stanza one are repeated as the third line of the other stanzas. For example:




Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

             --Dylan Thomas




                                                                                  8
We can also divide poetry by type, the most popular being:


CONCRETE POETRY: poetry in which the words and the lines form pictures.
DRAMATIC POETRY: poetry in which one or more characters speak.
FREE VERSE: free verse poetry has no regular rhythm or line length, and it rarely has rhyme; this
      form of poetry tries to imitate the rhythms of natural speech.
HAIKU: a lyric form of poetry from Japan, consisting of seventeen syllables, arranged in unrhymed
       lines of five, seven, and five syllables.
LIMERICK: a five-line stanza used in humorous verse; the rhyme scheme is “aabba.”
LYRIC POETRY: poetry that expresses a speaker’s personal thoughts and feelings. In ancient
Greece, such poems were sung to the music of a harp-like instrument called a lyre.
ODE: a lengthy lyric poem on a serious subject
PARODY: the imitation of one poem by another
SONNET: a fourteen-line poem written in iambic pentameter [ten syllables, with each
unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable], with a particular rhyme scheme.
NARRATIVE: a narrative poem tells a story.


Several examples of the most popular types of poetry follow:

Limerick: a five-line stanza used in humorous verse; the rhyme scheme is
“aabba.”

A Staid Schizophrenic Named Struther

A staid schizophrenic named Struther,
When told of the death of his brother,
Said: “Yes, I am sad;
It makes me feel bad,
But then, I still have each other.”

                   --Anonymous




HAIKU: a lyric form of poetry from Japan, consisting of seventeen syllables,
arranged in unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables. The following
untitled haiku is written by the Japanese poet Chiyojo in the 1700’s:

Having viewed the moon
I say farewell to this world
With heartfelt blessing.

                   -- Chiyojo




                                                                                             9
Concrete Poetry: concrete poetry is poetry in which the words and the lines
form pictures.
                           You Too? Me Too—Why Not?
                                    Soda Pop

                                        I am look
                                           ing at
                                          theCo
                                          caCola
                                           bottle
                                         which is
                                         green wi
                                       the ridges
                                        just—like
                                      c      c    c
                                     o        o    o
                                   l          l      l
                                  u            u      u
                                 m            m        m
                                n             n         n
                               s             s           s
                                 and on itself it says

                                     COCA-COLA
                                    reg.u.s.pat.off.

                                 exactly like an art pop
                                 statue of that kind of
                                 bottle but not so green
                                 that the juice inside
                                gives other than the co-
                                lor it has when i pour
                                it out in a clear glass
                                 glass on this table top
                                (it’s making me thirsty
                                all this winking and
                                beading of Hippocrene
                                please let me pause
                                drinking the fluid in)
                               ah! It is enticing how each
                                color is the         same
                                brown in green bottle
                               brown in uplifted glass
                               making each utensil on
                               the table laid a brown
                               fork in a brown shade
                              making me long to watch
                              them harvesting the crop
                             which makes the deep-aged
                          rich brown wine of America
                          that is to say which makes
                          soda                             pop

                                               --Robert Hollander




                                                                              10
DRAMATIC POETRY: poetry in which one or more characters speak.

Lord Randal

“O where hae ye been, Lord Randal, my son?
O where hae ye been, my handsome young man”
“I hae been to the wild wood; mother, make my bed soon,
For I’m weary wi’ hunting, and fain wald lie down.”

“Where gat ye your dinner, Lord Randal, my soon?
Where gat ye your dinner, my handsome young man?”
“I dined wi’ my true-love; mother, make my bed soon,
For I’m weary wi’ hunting, and fain wald lie down.”

“What gat ye to your dinner, Lord Randal, my son?
What gat ye to your dinner, my handsome young man?”
“I gat eels boiled in broo; mother, make my bed soon,
For I’m weary wi’ hunting, and fain wald lie down.”

“What came of your bloodhounds, Lord Randal, my son?
What became of your bloodhounds, my handsome young man?”
“O they swelld and they died; mother, make my bed soon,
For I’m weary wi’ hunting, and fain wald lie down.”

“O I fear ye are poisoned, Lord Randal, my son!
O I fear ye are poisoned, my handsome young man!”
“Oh yes! I am poisoned; mother, make my bed soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wald lie down.”

                        --Anonymous




                                                                 11
FREE VERSE: free verse poetry has no regular rhythm or line length, and
it rarely has rhyme; this form of poetry tries to imitate the rhythms of
natural speech. For example:

Snow, by David Berman

Walking through a field with my little brother Seth

I pointed to a place where kids had made angels in the snow.
For some reason, I told him that a troop of angels
had been shot and dissolved when they hit the ground.

He asked who had shot them and I said a farmer.

Then we were on the roof of the lake.
The ice looked like a photograph of water.

Why he asked. Why did he shoot them.

I didn't know where I was going with this.

They were on his property, I said.

When it's snowing, the outdoors seem like a room.

Today I traded hellos with my neighbor.
Our voices hung close in the new acoustics.
A room with the walls blasted to shreds and falling.

We returned to our shoveling, working side by side in silence.

But why were they on his property, he asked.

[from Actual Air, 1999




                                                                     12
ODE: a lengthy lyric poem on a serious subject


Ode On a Grecian Urn                                                         Forever warm and still to be enjoyed,
                                                                                        Forever panting and forever young;
                                                                             All breathing human passion far above,
Thou still unravished bride of quietness!                          That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloyed,
           Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,                                  A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.
Slyvan historian, who canst thus express
           A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:             Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape                                To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
           Of deities or mortals, or of both                       Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
                      In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?                         And all her silken flanks with garlands dressed?
           What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?          What little town by river or sea-shore,
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?                                     Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
                      What pipes and timbrels? What mad                                    Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?
ecstasy?                                                                       And, little town, thy streets for evermore
                                                                   Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Hear melodies are sweet, but those unheard                                                 Why thou art desolate, can e’er return.
          Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endeared,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:                             O Attic shape! Fair attitude! With brede
          Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave                Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
          Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;              With forest branches and the trodden weed;
                       Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss,             Thou, silent form! Dost tease us out of thought
          Thou winning near the goal—yet do not grieve;            As doth eternity: cold pastoral!
She cannot fade, thou thou hast not thy bliss,                               When old age shall this generation waste,
                       Forever wilt thou love, and she be fair!                          Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
                                                                             Than ours, a friend to man, to who thou say’st,
Ah, happy, happy boughs! That cannot shed                          “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,”—that is all
         Your leaves, nor ever bid the spring adieu;                                     Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
         Forever piping songs forever new;                                                                               --John Keats
More happy love! More happy, happy love!


NARRATIVE: a narrative poem tells a story.                              For example,

In the Well, Andrew Hudgins                                        another then: then blood,
                                                                   which spiked my mouth with iron.
My father cinched the rope,                                        Hand over hand, my father
a noose around my waist,                                           dropped me from then to then:
and lowered me into
the darkness. I could taste                                        then water. Then wet fur,
                                                                   which I hugged to my chest.
my fear. It tasted first                                           I shouted. Daddy hauled
of dark, then earth, then rot.                                     the wet rope. I gagged, and pressed
I swung and struck my head
and at that moment got                                             my neighbor's missing dog
                                                                   against me. I held its death
                                                                   and rose up to my father.
                                                                   Then light. Then hands. Then breath.



                                                                                                                                 13
SONNET: a fourteen-line poem written in iambic pentameter [ten syllables, with each
unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable], with a particular rhyme
scheme. For example:


Poetry, by Don Paterson

In the same way that the mindless diamond keeps
one spark of the planet's early fires
trapped forever in its net of ice,
it's not love's later heat that poetry holds,
but the atom of the love that drew it forth
from the silence: so if the bright coal of his love
begins to smoulder, the poet hears his voice
suddenly forced, like a bar-room singer's -- boastful
with his own huge feeling, or drowned by violins;
but if it yields a steadier light, he knows
the pure verse, when it finally comes, will sound
like a mountain spring, anonymous and serene.

Beneath the blue oblivious sky, the water
sings of nothing, not your name, not mine.



                                                                                    Ozymandias

                                                          I met a traveler from an antique land
                                                Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
                                                 Stand in the desert…Near them, on the sand,
                                               Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
                                                 And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
                                                  Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
                                            Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
                                           The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
                                                      And on the pedestal these words appear:
                                                       “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
                                                   Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
                                                     Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
                                                    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
                                                     The lone and level sands stretch far away.
                                                                          --Percy Bysshe Shelley




                                                                                              14
PARODY: the imitation of one poem by another. The first poem cited here is the
original; the second parodies the first:




This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in the icebox

and which you were probably
saving for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

              --William Carlos Williams




This is Just to Say

I have failed the paper
which you handed in
for your essay
and for which
you were probably
expecting
an A

Please forgive me
it was terrible
so boring
and so dull
             --R.K, 1994




                                                                                 15
IMAGERY IN POETRY: the sensory impressions generated by a poem are significant;
a poem has strong imagery if the use of vivid descriptions or figures of speech to
creates a mental image.

SENSE IMAGERY: Sense imagery uses the five senses to create an image for the
reader. The five types of sense imagery are:

      VISUAL IMAGERY: use of the sense of sight
      AUDITORY IMAGERY: use of the sense of hearing
      OLFACTORY IMAGERY: use of the sense of smell
      GUSTATORY IMAGERY: use of the sense of taste
      TACTILE IMAGERY: use of the sense of touch



The following poems illustrate strong visual imagery; they are almost like snapshots of
individual scenes:



                                  In a Station of the Metro, by Ezra Pound

                                  The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
                                  Petals on a wet, black bough.




The Red Wheelbarrow                                                      A Man I Knew

so much depends                                                               has a condo
upon
                                                                       a maid who comes
a red wheel                                                             every other week
barrow
glazed with rain                                                          kids who won't
water
                                                                        are on the dresser
beside the white                                                        they float forever
chickens.
                                                                               like a boat
--William Carlos Williams

                                                                     --by Margaret Levine




                                                                                          16

				
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